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French Cup - Match Prediction: PSG VS Angers
Match Time：4/22/2021 00:45 Thursday (GMT+8)
French Cup -- Paris Saint Germain (PSG) VS Angers
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Paris Saint-Germain resume their Coupe de France defence on Wednesday when they welcome Angers to the Parc des Princes for the quarter-finals.
Mauricio Pochettino's side scraped a dramatic 3-2 win over Saint-Etienne at the weekend, whereas Angers were no match for Rennes as they succumbed to a 3-0 defeat.
Following a bizarre 24 hours at his former club Tottenham Hotspur, who sacked Jose Mourinho after announcing their involvement in the European Super League, Pochettino experienced his own dose of drama during an enthralling 3-2 victory over Saint-Etienne in the French top flight.
It took until the 77th minute for Denis Bouanga to break the deadlock before Kylian Mbappe netted twice in the space of eight minutes, and Romain Hamouma's close-range effort appeared to have secured a point for Saint-Etienne, before Mauro Icardi came off the bench to head home a late winner for the reigning champions.
With Lille only managing to take a point from their meeting with Montpellier HSC, PSG have closed the gap at the top of the Ligue 1 table to one point with five games left to play, but their quest for a fourth successive league crown takes a back seat for now as they aim to assert their dominance on the Coupe de France stage.
Pochettino's side simply swept aside Lille by three goals to nil in the last 16, having also navigated the previous rounds against Brest and Caen without shipping a single goal, and they are on a nine-game winning streak in the competition since losing to Rennes in the 2019 final.
The capital outfit are already at risk of losing their iron grip on the Ligue 1 crown, so Pochettino will be desperate to avoid a shock quarter-final exit from the Coupe de France - where they have reached the final in the last six seasons - but managing to end a three-game domestic losing run at home was the perfect tonic before the visit of an Angers side with little to play for in the league.
Angers performances have embodied that of a side who realistically cannot play for anything but pride as the season draws to a close, although Stephane Moulin would undoubtedly have been angered to see his side succumb to defeat to Rennes in the manner of which they did.
With 10 players occupying spots in the treatment room, Angers fell behind just before the break as Jeremy Doku made the net ripple, and second-half strikes from Martin Terrier and Serhou Guirassy condemned Les Scoistes to their second consecutive 3-0 defeat in the league.
Angers have now failed to win in five in the top flight and sit 12th in the table - 10 points clear of the dropzone - so while a calamitous collapse and relegation dogfight is still an unwanted possibility, the underwhelming form of Moulin's crop should not have such dire consequences at this late stage.
Rennes took revenge on Les Scoistes after Moulin's side beat them 2-1 in the Coupe de France earlier this season, and Angers have also overcome Club Franciscain and Sedan to reach the quarter-finals, where they are appearing for the first time since they lost to PSG in the 2016-17 final.
Les Parisiens have embarked on a 24-game unbeaten run against Angers since losing 3-1 in the 1974-95 Ligue 1 campaign, and they have already done the double over Les Scoistes in the 2020-21 league season by an aggregate scoreline of 7-1.
Paris Saint-Germain Coupe de France form: WWW
Paris Saint-Germain form (all competitions): WLWWLW
Angers Coupe de France form: WWW
Angers form (all competitions): LDDWLL
PSG will welcome Neymar back from a two-game ban for the quarter-final, and the Brazilian could earn starts alongside his fellow well-rested stars Leandro Paredes and Idrissa Gueye, both of whom also sat out the win over Saint-Etienne.
Sergio Rico is assured of a start in goal with Keylor Navas and Alexandre Letellier nursing shoulder and thigh problems respectively, while injuries to Abdou Diallo and Marquinhos have also restricted Pochettino's options in defence.
Icardi is ready to be recalled to the first XI after marking his comeback on Sunday with the decisive goal, and further rotation from the hosts could see Colin Dagba and Layvin Kurzawa return to the fold, but Rafinha and Marco Verratti have been ruled out with back and thigh issues respectively.
Angers' ever-growing absentee list welcomed left-back Souleyman Doumbia before the Rennes defeat due to an injury sustained in training, but Stephane Bahoken recovered from an ankle alert in time to feature.
COVID-positive pair Farid El Melali and Mathias Pereira Lage are joined on the absentee list by Angelo Fulgini, Vincent Manceau, Sofiane Boufal and Lassana Coulibaly, so Moulin's hand is largely forced in several areas of the pitch.
It would not be a surprise to see the visiting manager select Paul Bernardoni as the last line of defence, but 38-year-old Ludovic Butelle has started all three of Angers' Coupe de France games so far and will hope to impress against the champions.
Paris Saint-Germain possible starting lineup:
Rico; Dagba, Kehrer, Kimpembe, Kurzawa; Gueye, Paredes; Di Maria, Neymar, Draxler; Icardi
Angers possible starting lineup:
Butelle; Bamba, Thomas, Pavlovic, Traore, Capelle; Amadou, Mangani, Bobichon; Thioub, Bahoken
PSG vs Angers
PSG 4-1 Angers
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